Help! How Will I Repay My Student Loans?


Student Loan Repayment is Back: A Step-by-Step Guide to Get Ready

After being paused for over three years, federal student loan payments are set to be due in October. You may have conveniently forgotten about these loans. Many people had their hopes up with the talk of loan forgiveness that never ended up panning out.

The reality is, your loans are still there, and you need to prepare for them. If money feels tight right now, you’re probably going to have to do some adjusting to make room for student loan repayments.

Here’s what you need to know to prepare for paying your student loans.

Refamiliarize Yourself With Your Loans

With payments on hold, it’s easy to forget loan details. Log into your account at and review:

  • Your loan servicer and contact information
  • Total balance across all loans
  • Interest rates
  • Loan types (federal or private)
  • Repayment plan
  • Check your credit report for any private student loans. You can get free reports from

Also confirm your auto-debit enrollment if you had set that up previously. 

Expect Your First Payment in October

Your first payment will be due in October if you have federal loans. If you miss a student loan payment, you won’t be penalized for the first year. The Biden administration has given borrowers a grace period from October 1st to September 30, 2024. Missed payments won’t be reported to credit bureaus, so your credit score won’t be negatively affected. They also won’t report delinquent payments to debt collection agencies. Some private student loans may have different timelines, so check with your servicer.

Average Student Loan Debt

We all know that student loan debt is a problem. In America, the total amount of student loan debt is $1.75 trillion and the average borrower owes $28,950. Student loan interest rates vary based on graduate or undergraduate, fixed, variable, and federal and private loans. The average student loan interest rate is 5.5% for undergraduate and 7.05% for graduate loans. 

If your student loan debt seems overwhelming, you do have options on repayment. If you file bankruptcy, you’ll still have to pay back your student loan debt. It will follow you your whole life. So you might as well pay it down.   

Explore Lowering Payments

Your student loans will be put on a 10-year repayment schedule. If the standard payment is now unaffordable, you may qualify for an income-driven repayment plan to lower your monthly amount. 

The Biden administration has started Saving on a Valuable Education or SAVE, an income-driven repayment plan based on your income and family size. SAVE won’t be fully in effect until the summer of 2024, but it could cut payments in half. To apply for the SAVE initiative, go here.  Also, check out this federal loan simulator to see different payment options available to you. 

Update your Bank Information

This is a step that many people will probably forget to do. If you had direct deposits set up, three and a half years ago, you must update your bank information. You will have to re-sign up. 

Make sure you do this, so you won’t miss a payment. If you’ve moved or have had any changes in the past years, make sure you update that as well. 

Get Auto-Pay and Other Discounts

Enrolling in auto-pay often lowers your interest rate by 0.25%. Check if your servicer offers additional discounts for on-time payments. Leverage any other ways to pay less interest or pay off loans faster. This saves money over time.

The student loan payment pause is ending, and you don’t have much time to prepare. Get organized, review options, and create a repayment strategy that fits your current financial situation.

Review Your Spending

You may be feeling overwhelmed by adding back a student loan payment. The first thing you need to do is factor your estimated monthly student loan payment back into your budget.

Here’s our favorite budgeting tool. 

You may need to reevaluate your current spending. This is one of the areas we help our clients with. Most people don’t have a grasp on how much they are spending and where their money is going. When you don’t have clarity with your money, you’re likely to experience overwhelm and stress. You’re also more likely to overspend and miss important financial opportunities. 

Now is a great time to get intentional with your money. When you get a good sense of where your money is going, you can determine what areas need to be funded and defunded. We help our financial coaching clients gain a clear picture of where their money is going in our Roadmap. It’s easy to miss things when you DIY it. We’re able to walk our clients through their current spending and help them discover ways to free up money to fund their goals.

There are countless books, podcasts, magazines, and blog posts about how to handle your money. Information isn’t the cure, and if it was, we’d all be doing amazing things with our money. Accountability and coaching are what move the needle. It helps you go from ‘I’d like to pay off debt, save for retirement, travel, work less, & more” to “I’m doing it.”

See if financial coaching is a good fit for you by scheduling a free Q&A Session with us. We’ll go through your numbers, answer questions, and point you in the right direction. You don’t have to do this alone!

Written By Amberlee Rich

Amberlee is a Money Coach, content creator, podcaster, and avid reader who is passionate about intentional living. She's a recovering couponing addict and aims to help others break free from survival mode. With her husband, James, they're certified financial coaches and have been helping people experience joy with their money for over 15 years.

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